Large achievement gaps separate students by race and family income, concludes a Stanford study based on a data set of 200 million test scores.
Sixth graders in the most advantaged districts are more than four grade levels ahead of students in the least advantaged districts, the study found.
- Average test scores of black students are, on average, roughly two grade levels lower than those of white students in the same district; the Hispanic-white difference is roughly one- and-a-half grade levels.
- The size of the gaps has little or no association with average class size, a district’s per capita student spending or charter school enrollment.
White-black achievement gaps are especially large in Atlanta, Oakland, Charleston and Washington, D.C., reports the New York Times, which created an interactive map of the results. Gaps also are large in university towns such as Berkeley and Chapel Hill, apparently because white students are likely to come from highly educated families.
Detroit has no achievement gap: Whites, blacks and Hispanics in district schools all are more than two years below grade level. Buffalo is gap-free too, for the same reason. Nobody’s learning.
“Poverty is not destiny,” said Sean Reardon, the lead researcher. In Union City, N.J. which is 95 percent Hispanic and mostly low-income, “students consistently performed about a third of a grade level above the national average on math and reading tests,” reports the New York Times.
Union City schools used to be dreadful, writes David Kirp, a Berkeley ed professor. Improvement was “slow and steady.”